Rita Coolidge Plays Mt Druitt

By | 1 July 1998

The minarets of Auburn’s mosque
are topped by shining metal cones.
Calm, early afternoon–

Dirk Hartog bangs a nail
through the sky’s pewter dish.

Land the colour of dried sponge,
razor grass–a white flame
sputters in the wind.

Fences fall like theatre
props. Mount Druitt expands,
LA obsessed cars

stretched by the tar’s
tightening belt

where in-between houses
hover in heat:
Speer the architect.

The carriage judders
the glaze from
a passenger’s eyes;

and Rita thinks of fame,
can almost roll

that kernel beneath her tongue:
a signature song that could shake
any audience to its feet.

Instead she scans
newspaper reports
that read as obits:

Delta lady achieved her fame
in duets with Kris.

Under her breath she croons
watching the Nepean’s algal blooms
from the sluggish, half-full train.

She knows the audience loves
her casual dress
as much as her songs.

The way she flicks her skirt the way
young arsonists flick a match

to thunderous applause.

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